© Corinne Dubreuil/ATP Tour

Cristian Garin took 11 of the 14 games played Tuesday to win his rain-interrupted match against Felix Auger-Aliassime.

New Day, New Outcome For Garin Against Auger-Aliassime

Chilean to face John Millman next

Cristian Garin trailed Felix Auger-Aliassime 2-4 when the pair’s first-round match was suspended due to rain on Monday at the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters. When the Chilean returned to the court on Tuesday, he raised his game to march into the second round.

The five-time ATP Tour clay-court titlist claimed 11 of the 14 games played on Tuesday and capitalised on 28 forehand unforced errors from Auger-Aliassime to record a 7-6(3), 6-1 win. Garin improved his record on clay this season to 5-1, highlighted by his title run at home at the Chile Dove Men+Care Open in Santiago.

“The conditions were pretty different [from] yesterday,” Garin said in his post-match interview. “Yesterday, the court was pretty humid and today it was faster. I love these conditions. It is my favourite surface… These matches help me a lot to keep looking at the things I have to improve. I am very happy to be playing here in Monte-Carlo.”

The World No. 24 has regained the lead in his ATP Head2Head series against the #NextGenATP Canadian. Garin has won two of his three matches against Auger-Aliassime, with all three encounters contested on clay.

“I didn’t expect to play Felix in the first round. He is a great player with a really great future, so I am very happy with the way I played today,” Garin said. “I hope to keep improving. Most of the tournaments that I played this year were on clay, so I had more rhythm.”

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Auger-Aliassime was making his first appearance under the guidance of new coaching team member Toni Nadal this week. The Canadian approached the Spaniard towards the end of 2020 and spent more than a week preparing for the 2021 ATP Tour season at the Rafa Nadal Academy by Movistar in Mallorca. Auger-Aliassime opened the year with a run to the Murray River Open final (l. to Evans).

Garin will meet John Millman for a spot in the third round. The Aussie defeated Ugo Humbert 6-3, 6-3 to start his Monte-Carlo campaign on Monday.

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“[Millman] is a very solid player,” Garin said. “I saw his match yesterday [and] he played really well. He is a dangerous player. Every player here plays amazing.”

Singapore champion Alexei Popyrin recovered from a slow start to beat Pablo Andujar 0-6, 6-2, 7-6(3). The 21-year-old qualifier won 79 per cent of his first-serve points in the decider (15/19) to improve to 12-4 on the season.

Popyrin will meet French wild card Lucas Pouille in the second round. The former Top 10 star defeated Guido Pella 6-3, 6-4 to earn his second tour-level win of the year.